Students disappointed with lunchroom protocol

Freshman+Bayler+Bell+sits+independently+during+his+lunch+period+on+Jan.+20.

Freshman Bayler Bell sits independently during his lunch period on Jan. 20.

Lynlee Hutchison, Editor in Chief

Academics in 2020 are looking different than ever before, but they are not the only matter that was subject to change this school year. Lunch has taken one major hit. 

Following a district board meeting, which repealed the previous decision which had the start of the 2020-21 school year beginning completely online, many students were ecstatic to be back in the building part time, surrounded by their peers and teachers. However, some of the excitement and happiness dwindled away as students passed the common area and took one glance at the new and improved COVID-19 cafeteria. 

Lunch in years past has always been a social period that the majority of students enjoy, including a collective environment with large tables filled with chattering students. This time does not only serve as a brain break roughly halfway through the day, but a 30minute period to immerse yourself in a group of people you may never have the opportunity to have a course with. As a student at DHS myself, the typical lunch period is something I never thought I would have to “miss.” 

Yet now we have seating arrangements that are spaced out amongst individual tables or student desks in a variety of different locations throughout the building, limiting this social period drastically. 

I know even for myself, my heart sank into my stomach when I first returned to the building. Walking through the main hallway is almost uncomfortably silent. Many students have also felt this way as making this adjustment has been difficult.

“With desks six feet apart, it feels like the whole lunch room can hear my conversation,” junior Katelyn Gress said. “I feel very distant at lunch from my peers and everyone feels very detached.”

For many students, the lunch period is no longer something they look forward to. It just serves as a constant reminder of how things used to be before the start of this pandemic. Right when the light starts to show at the end of the tunnel, and things are beginning to pick up again, boom: you are once again reminded of the great virus that has already taken away so many valuable moments from you just from looking into the cafeteria. 

For many years past, the seniors have had the opportunity to sit amongst themselves in an area known to most as the Union. Surrounded by their graduating class and having access to many devices and activities, it is something you look forward to as an underclassmen; a goal. But for the seniors this year, some of them do not have the opportunity to use this space, nor is it anywhere close to the environment they once could have imagined. 

Senior Haylee Hurt shares her input on the new arrangement.

“For my lunches, I sit in the north part of the cafeteria on one day, and the west end of the aux gym on the other,” Hurt said.  “The Union was a place where seniors had the chance to have fun and mess around with their friends. There are foosball tables, couches, television shows and other activities that came along with being able to use the space and it is really frustrating that when it’s my turn I don’t get to use it.”

For many, lunches are no longer enjoyable.With the reduced amount of people in each lunch period, and the space between each individual, noise is at an all time low. 

“For example, when I eat in the aux gym it is dead silent. On one of my first days back to school I pulled out my chair and as it drug along the tarp and it felt like everyone in the room turned around and just stared at me,” Hurt said. “I turned around to my friend a table back and said ‘this is not okay.’”

Although it is unfortunate lunch has to look this way, it is understandable why these safety precautions must be taken. This is one part of the school day a mask cannot be properly worn by staff and students. 

Even though these changes are rather disappointing, DHS students remain grateful that they are able to have any deviation of in-person school, as many students are not as lucky.